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VT researchers discover an inexpensive way to get rid of stink bugs in your home

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BLACKSBURG, VA (WSLS) -Virginia Tech researchers in the Entomology Department have studied several different options for catching stink bugs in your home and came up with one very simple option that will cost you about seven dollars.

After two years of studying three different traps, the most effective one involves a turkey roasting pan, half gallon of water, and some dish liquid.

Tom Kuhar and the Virginia Tech Entomology Department are finding answers to questions about stink bugs.

"With the general public the number one concern is I have bugs in my house. How do I get rid of them?" explains Kuhar.

In addition to looking for the answer home owners want, he's part of a team that has been trying to figure out how to keep the pests from ruining crops.

In 2010 stink bugs invaded. Virginia Tech is part of a task force that was created to figure out how to control them.

The warm weather we are having is the perfect time for stink bugs in our home to begin waking up. They have been living in various parts of our homes since last fall. They start flying around looking for a place to stay warm around September and October. Eventually, the bugs gather in colonies so they can survive the winter.

"What these bugs are doing then is trying to find that spot where they are going to spend the winter. It might be underneath siding or inside someone's attic," says Kuhar.

All of the snow and cold weather we had over the winter may help us this spring because any bugs that took shelter outside likely died.

Virginia Tech Graduate Research Assistant, John Aigner has spent two years researching the best way to catch and kill stink bugs in the home.

"My idea was to take traps that you can purchase at your local hardware store and test those traps against rumored traps that we found on the internet that are home made, " explains Aigner.

He found the homemade trap was thirteen times more effective that the traps you can buy in stores.

"This is just a turkey pan that you purchase from your grocery store. Add a half a gallon of water and some Dawn dish detergent. Then, shine a desk lamp on the pan of water. The cost of this trap is around 7 dollars versus the other light traps that are as much as thirty to fifty dollars," says Aigner.

His research involved placing the pan of dish water with the light shining on it in a dark room for twelve hours at a time from 7:00 at night until 7:00 in the morning.

Aigner's research is good news for homeowners but the search for a crop fix continues.

Pesticides did not solve the problem.

"We ended up having secondary pest outbreaks after spraying these products basically insects that weren't pests before all of the sudden we killed their natural enemies,"explains Kuhar.

Right now, researchers are planning to go back to China where the bug originated to collect its natural enemies. The idea is to bring those enemies to the United States to fight the problem.

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